When asked to think about Japanese tattoos many people would make the immediate association with the Yakuza and the full body tattoo designs that have been popularized by the media. However, over the last ten years the world of tattoos has changed drastically both in US as well as abroad. Gone are many of the old hang up’s, social phobias and fear from the public surrounding tattoos. Tattoos have in a way become secularized and are no longer the domain of the few rough and tough hardcore guys. This trend has been occurring worldwide in some varying degree. Here in the west many women are starting to discover the right and deeply symbolic and even traditional designs of Japanese tattooing. Many of the themes, and symbolism behind them speak to modern western women and they are turning to traditional Japanese designs for a source of tattoo inspiration.
Japanese Koi Tattoos Koi fish have been one of the most iconic and symbolic symbols and tattoo designs in Japan for a long time. Now many others worldwide are finding the beauty and symbolism of the koi fish tattoo very purposeful in their own lives. Traditional it was believed the the koi fish would swim back up stream against the current. Eventually they would get to a waterfall, or a bridge and they would ascend tot he top of it and then be transformed into a dragon and fly off into the heavens or the sky. Thus the koi has become synonymous as a symbol for power, strength, independence and even individuality. It was also thought to sit still on the cutting board before being cut up. Other fish tend to wiggle and squirm but the koi was thought to be brave and accepting of their fate. Bravery and steadfastness are two symbolic qualities ascribed to the koi fish.
Cherry Blossom Tattoos Cherry blossoms have also been used throughout traditional Japanese tattooing. Originally cherry blossoms were a revered flower and a symbol that many samurai held close to the hearts. In fact many of the most famous samurai would write poems about the cherry blossom. They felt it represented life and symbolized the temporary existence of life. It therefore acted as a very powerful reminder and symbol to live each day to the fullest since life ends quickly and is delicate like the cherry blossom. Again this is a wonderful symbol that is full of meaning. It looks beautiful and delicate as well as has power behind it. They also can make a great tattoo design. You can choose to do a large tattoo design of the whole cherry blossom tree, just a branch of even just the fallen petals in the snow or water all very deeply symbolic and beautiful.
The Japanese Geisha – Of course just about everyone has heard something about the Japanese Geisha and many have false stereotypes about this highly refined and talented women. Many believe that they were essentially sex slaves or hookers and etc. However, while there might have been some pay for sex element to it the Geisha typically embodied the arts and culture of Japan. They would learn the most traditional forms of art including acting, instruments, calligraphy and other artistic endeavors. They were phenomenal conversationalists and really seen as a bearer of culture. Much of the wood cut art work that we see today featuring an area called the “Floating World” an area where Geisha, Samurai, and political elites would meet for tea, drinks and entertainment. Many of these designs became some of the most popular tattoo themes. One can easily see the connection between wood cuts and tattooing. Thus many of the eldest tattoos and most traditional look much like these woodcut designs of geisha. The geisha tattoo often symbolism beauty, feminine power and an ounce of mystique.
These are just a few of the more traditional Japanese tattoos designs that are popular in the West and also very traditional at the same time. They are also designs that can easily be translated into feminine tattoo designs. Each one holds a bit of power and strength along with feminine beauty and mystique making for the ideal tattoo design for many women. These are just a few of the ideas.
If you are seriously considering getting one of the above tattoos or any tattoo for that matter take your time. Don’t be in such a rush to just get any old tattoo and maybe make a mistake that you will later regret. It is always advisable to take your time and do your research before getting any tattoo inked on your body.